HC Deb 18 July 1907 vol 178 c899
MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)

To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether infant mortality among the poorer classes usually rises greatly in the latter part of the summer and early autumn; whether the mortality would be reduced if parents who are unable to pay for a doctor for their children would apply for medical relief at an early stage of the children's illness; and whether he would advise the guardians to give all facilities to such parents to obtain medical relief for the children, and not to make it a debt or offer it on condition that the parent comes into the workhouse.

(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I am aware that there is usually an increase in infant mortality in the latter part of the summer and early autumn, especially in hot seasons, and it may be accepted, I think, that competent medical advice and treatment at an early stage of the illness would tend to reduce the mortality. I have, however, no reason to suppose that guardians are unwilling to afford medical relief for children whose parents are unable to provide it, or that persons properly entitled to receive medical relief are deterred from applying for it by the considerations referred to in the last part of the Question. If my hon. friend is aware of any cases of failure to give relief to the infants of parents unable-to provide it, and will inform me of the particulars of such cases, I will consider them.